Brendan Davies, one of the world’s best ultra-distance athletes, puts our first-ever mountain running clothing range through its paces – in all conditions!
I recently joined team-mates at an inov-8 athlete retreat in the Alps and was able to put the new clothing range to the test. High in the mountains above Chamonix and under the shadow of Mont Blanc, we ran in red-hot sunshine, heavy rain, high winds and even snow.
On returning to Australia, I ran the Bush Capital Ultra Marathon – a 63km race which I won in a time of 4:45:16. Conditions were really cold, with a windchill that must have been below zero. Again this gave me the chance to put some of the clothing range through its paces.
Here’s my thoughts on some of the ultra-lightweight, athletic-fitting garments in the range.
RACE ELITE STORMSHELL 150 (more details including video)
The athletic cut is superb and with the use of the drawstring hem cord, which can be adjusted single-handedly, I have been able to really contour the shape of the shell to my body.
It is very, very light for a fully waterproof jacket, weighing just 150g. This is great because not only does it feel light on, it is also light in the backpack, and when packed into its own stuff bag it is super small.
As expected, I have remained bone dry throughout when wearing it, as it keeps torrential rain, as well as strong winds, out.
I have found the peak on the front of the hood an excellent addition. It means the water streams away, rather than going down my face.
This is an outstanding shell for running in wet and cold conditions and perfect for carrying as mandatory kit on races, including ultras like the Ultra Trail Mt Blanc.
BASE ELITE 140 SS (more details including video)
The cut and fit of this lightweight T-shirt is perfect. It’s stripped-back and there is nothing excessive – exactly why I love inov-8 products.
It is ultra comfortable, lightweight (140g) and has worked really well with a backpack. The dual collar with inner rucksack/pack comfort band means there has been no rubbing around the neck and shoulders.
The Base Elite 140 SS has breathed well, wicked away the sweat and remained lightweight even when wet.
The mesh material under the armpits is great. It has helped me stay cool – something which is crucial when doing ultra races. I will definitely be wearing this for more ultra races.
RACE ELITE 195 3QTR (more details including video)
These three-quarter length tights have felt superbly comfortable when running, something which was proven when I wore them to win the 63km Bush Capital Ultra Marathon.
They haven’t rode up or down, and remained secure thanks to the flat elasticated waist, non-loosening drawcords and the sticky grip elastic on the inner leg hems.
They weigh just 195g and have kept my legs warm.
These are a real winner for me – I will definitely be championing the three-quarter length tights in Australia!
RACE ELITE 140 TRAIL SHORT (more details including video)
Weighing just 140g, these trail shorts have felt light, fast and very comfortable. The length provides a perfect middle slot between shorter and longer shorts.
The soft-mesh inner boxer has helped provide a snug fit and crucially there has been no rubbing or chaffing at all.
The DWR (durable water repellent) treated finish means the shorts have remained dry in wet conditions and I have the found the rear zip pocket useful for things like gels.
I have been very happy with how the shorts have performed. They are super comfortable and I will be wearing them for more long training runs and races.